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Pharma Companies Ask U.S. Court Not to Break up States’ Price-fixing Lawsuits

A coalition of major pharmaceutical companies is petitioning the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to compel Connecticut and 45 other states to remain part of a coordinated legal proceeding concerning generic drug pricing. The companies, including Upshur-Smith, Teva, and Glenmark, among others, argue that allowing the states to pursue their claims separately would disrupt years of legal efforts and lead to significant delays.

This appeal comes after a federal judicial panel ruled in January that the states could transfer their cases back to Connecticut, where the litigation initially commenced. The panel cited a newly enacted federal law granting state attorneys general increased authority over the filing and litigation of antitrust lawsuits. The forthcoming decision by the 3rd Circuit could clarify the scope of this law, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden in late 2022, particularly regarding its retroactive application to ongoing legal disputes.

The appeals court has instructed the states to respond to the petition within a two-week timeframe. Notably, the states’ lawsuits were originally part of a broad Pennsylvania multidistrict litigation since 2016. These legal actions, involving states, drug wholesalers, insurers, and hospitals, allege that numerous pharmaceutical companies colluded to artificially inflate the prices of generic drugs.

While Upshur-Smith declined to comment and Teva and Glenmark have yet to respond to requests for comment, the companies have consistently denied the states’ allegations. In contrast, the Connecticut attorney general’s office has characterized the drugmakers’ appeal as a “delay tactic” and affirmed the states’ readiness to proceed with the litigation in Connecticut.

In their petition to the 3rd Circuit, the pharmaceutical companies argue against retroactively applying the new law, expressing concerns that allowing the states to depart from the coordinated proceedings would impede progress and resolution in the underlying litigation for years to come. U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, overseeing the antitrust litigation in Philadelphia, previously recommended against permitting the states to return to Connecticut, emphasizing the potential benefits of coordinated pretrial proceedings.

The case, known as In re: Actavis Holdco U.S. et al, is currently before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals under docket number 24-1295. Legal representation for Upshur-Smith, Glenmark, and Teva is respectively provided by Devora Allon of Kirkland & Ellis, Dimitra Doufekias of Morrison & Foerster, and J. Gordon Cooney Jr of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. As of now, there has been no appearance from Connecticut’s legal representation.


Joan David-Leonhard

Joan David Leonhard is a recent Pharm.D graduate with a strong passion for the pharmaceutical industry and a particular interest in pharmaceutical media and communication. Her brief internship experience includes roles in pharmacy where she built strong patient-pharmacist relationships and a pharmaceutical media internship where she actively contributed to drug information articles, blog posts, social media engagement, and various media projects.
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